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Find it hard to choose the best garage door for you? That’s natural! After all, this is a big investment. It’s expensive and will remain with you for a very long time. Most homeowners would most likely need to replace their garage door once in their lifetime. This gives you one more reason for being extra careful before you sign the check. And don’t forget that this door is meant to keep the house safeguarded without compromising your family’s safety or convenience.
With that said, let’s point out one more important thing. The key word is “best”. What’s the best garage door for you, it’s not necessarily the best option for a friend or relative. That’s one reason why there are so many options out there. Which are the factors, which would affect your decision?
- Local weather conditions
- Maintenance expectations
- Property architectural style
- Personal taste
- Garage size
With this in mind, start getting organized by:
- Determining your family’s budget but bear in mind that the final garage door prices are not always what the tag says. When you get in touch with a garage door company, manufacturer, or store that sells these products, ask what the price includes. It usually doesn’t include the opener or labor work for the garage door installation.
- Choose the right type of door. The type actually determines the way the door moves – upwards, up and over, outwards etc. That’s very, very important. If you don’t get the right type, it won’t fit well. So, one of your first priorities is to measure the garage. If you want to know how, click here.
- Once you decide about the type, it’s time to check out the materials. There are plenty of choices here. But not all materials are great for all locations. Some materials are more resistant to elements than others. And so, you have to take into account the weather conditions in your region. This brings us to one more significant thing.
- Take into consideration special requirements. Do you need a windload or energy efficient door? As far as hurricane doors are concerned, it’s best to check the building regulations in your area. As for the latter, whether or not you choose insulated doors is entirely up to you.
- Select the best garage door style for you. Since one of the reasons for replacing the door is to increase the curb appeal and in turn the value of your home, the new garage door must match the architectural appeal of your property.
- Finally, google garage door opener choices or check out our article on openers to get an idea which one you will need along with the door.
- Then you are ready to contact a local dealer and ask for an estimate based on your needs.
Okay, let’s pause for a minute here. So far we have explained how to organize your thoughts, what to look for, what to do, and what to discuss over dinner. But let us take a step further and dig a bit deeper into the main features of garage doors.
The Most Popular Garage Door Types
- Overhead garage doors are extremely popular because they hardly occupy too much space. They are often called sectional because they consist of a few separate panels, which are hinged together. This is required for a door, which moves upwards and then curves and follows the route backwards toward the rear garage wall along the ceiling.
- Up & over garage doors are one-piece doors. They are also popular but not as much as their sectional counterparts. And that’s because their opening requires more space. Since this is a one-piece door, it moves outwards and over and so it demands space outdoors. In other words, you cannot park the car right out of the garage door.
- Roll up garage doors also move upwards but don’t move across the ceiling. Instead, they roll and curl into a barrel found above the door’s opening. They are a great solution for garages with limited space and headroom.
- Carriage garage doors are the traditional type. They are side hinged and provide convenient pedestrian access. But since they open outwards, you must have enough space outdoors.
- Round-the-corner garage doors resemble your home pocket doors. They hide into a cavity and as their name implies, they turn around the corner since residential garages hardly have enough side space. They are easy to use by pedestrians.
Garage Door Material Options
Wood is one of the most elegant materials. It’s a natural insulator but don’t expect to work wonders for the indoor energy efficiency.
- Extremely beautiful
- Long lasting
- One of the best choices for increased home value
- Prone to warping
- Limited insulation
- Requires frequent maintenance
Composite garage doors are actually a mixture of wood fibers and resin.
- Highly resistant to dents and scratches
- Low maintenance
- Not as elegant as authentic wood
- Limited color options
Glass doors are very modern. They are often made by tempered glass and have an aluminum frame. Although the glass panel can break, it’s usually made to break in thick and not edged pieces so that nobody would get hurt.
- Sunlight in the garage
- One of the best solutions to enhance home value
- You can choose energy efficient glass doors
- Resistant to humidity
- They can break
- If you choose clear glass, you lose privacy. But you can select milk glass options too.
Steel garage doors are widely known for their strength. Lately, manufacturers use stainless steel for the avoidance of corrosion.
- Extremely sturdy
- Many options
- Can be insulated
- Prone to rust if non galvanized steel is used
- It might get dented
Aluminum is another option of metal doors. It’s a softer material compared to steel and thus lightweight.
- Resistant to rust and humidity
- Can be insulated
- Dents easily
- Not as strong as steel
Garage Door Construction
The way the door is constructed is very important. Whether or not the door will be insulated makes a difference. Let me help you understand why. When a door is not insulated, it is single layered. If it’s insulated, it will be either double or triple layered. If you decide to get an energy efficient door, a triple layer option is perhaps the best. The insulation used is either polystyrene or polyurethane.
- Polystyrene fills the cavities of the door but doesn’t cover the entire panel. Another disadvantage is that the R-value options are limited.
- Polyurethane is sprayed in between the door’s panels. It expands and covers the entire skin of the door. So it fills the entire cavity of the door and thus offers higher energy efficiency.
Insulated or not?
To get or not an energy efficient door is a big decision. Let us give you a helpful tip: consider getting an insulated door only when it is attached to the house or need to maintain stuff in the garage at certain temperatures. One more thing to point out is that energy efficient doors can reduce both cold and heat transmissions. So they are not ideal only for cold climates. The only drawback with energy efficient doors is the higher price. But their advantages compensate with the higher cost.
- Excellent energy control
- Lower energy costs
- Increased noise insulation too
- Extra door durability
Do You Need Hurricane Garage Doors?
You will be interested in windload garage doors only if you live in hurricane prone areas. In such regions, there is often a building code requiring homeowners to get wind-resistant tested doors. Due to their size, garage doors become vulnerable to strong winds, tornados, and hurricanes. They might be blown off leading to the blow off of the rest of the structure. These doors are usually made of strong materials, have low gauge steel tracks, strong hinges, rollers, springs and bracings, and are certified in accordance to the local building codes.
Garage Door Style
The style of the door has to do with the way the panel is constructed and will have an impact on your home’s exterior. The most common choices include:
- Carriage style doors are reminiscent of the traditional ones.
- Flat panels are simple and don’t draw too much attention to the garage door.
- Long raised panels are elegant and might give the impression that the door is wider than it actually is.
- Short raised panels add extra texture and depth. They give a Victorian look to your home.
The Size of the New Garage Door
If you already have a garage door and want to replace it, it’s easier to measure the existing one (length, height, thickness) as long as you want to get the same type. If not or this is the very first door you will install in the construction, you need to measure the opening, headroom, sides, and backroom.
In spite of the differences between garage doors, there are some key features common to all of them. These parts are extremely important because they make sure the door moves right, closes well, and is safe.
- For automatic operation, you will need a garage door opener. There are many choices out there in terms of models. Each door type might require a different opener model. Most residential doors utilize a trolley opener. That is, the opener utilizes a carriage to transfer power and lift the door. There are three drive types with these openers:
- Chain drive openers utilize a metal chain, which runs along a rail. Due to metal to metal contact, this is a noisy opener. Lately, openers are made with the new DC motor technology and so even chain drive openers are not very noisy. This is one of the most popular options because chain openers are very durable and cost-effective.
- Belt drive openers are very similar to the chain drive types. The main difference between the two is that belt drive openers utilize a rubber belt instead of a metal chain. So there is no noise here. But these openers are a tad more expensive.
- Screw drive openers utilize a rod to lift the door. They consist of fewer parts than the other two choices but not ideal for all temperatures. In terms of cost and noise levels, they stand in between chain and belt drive openers.
- Weather seals are installed at the bottom, side and top part of the door. There are several types of weatherstripping. You can also place a retainer and slip the seal in it. What’s important is you should pay attention to the quality you choose and their installation. If they are not installed or replaced right, the door might not close well. Their purpose is to weatherproof your garage and keep insects, water, and critters out.
- One more basic garage door part is the springs. The heavier the door the stronger the spring. And that’s because the job of springs is to balance the weight of the door and then lift it. Due to their power, the door remains open and closes without slamming down with force. There are extension and torsion springs. The former ones come in a pair. Average size residential doors will be alright with one torsion spring. In either case, the springs are chosen based on the door’s size and hence weight. And they must be adjusted to be well tensed.
Garage Door Prices
There is not a fixed price. When talking about garage doors, the following features will determine the final price:
- Special features (garage door windows, insulation etc.)
Garage door prices start at around $300 and can reach up to several thousand dollars.
Where to Buy Garage Doors From
- You can go straight to the manufacturer – Clopay, Amarr, Stanley, Overhead Door, Raynor, Wayne Dalton and more.
- Another option is to go to one of the big home improvement stores, like Lowe’s or the Home Depot.
- A final option is to get in touch with a garage door repair company. Most of them will provide you with a garage door if you arrange its installation with them.
From the new garage door’s style, type, and size to its material and many key features in between, you have some serious thinking to do before you decide which one to choose for you. But it’s worth dedicating time. Let us kindly remind you that the decisions you take now will affect your convenience, safety, security, and the appeal of your home. The good news is that you can mix & match ideas and choices to stick to your budget and still have the ideal door at your home. So have a nice garage door hunting and we just hope we’ve been a little bit helpful.